District Judge Lucy Koh, who has made a name for herself ruling on controversal tech cases, has stepped down from overseeing a privacy lawsuit against Facebook.
According to Reuters, the case is to do with the social notworking site’s “Sponsored Stories” feature and she was supposed to hold a hearing on a proposed settlement today.
So far, Koh has not given a reason for her backing off. Normally such things happen when a judge knows one of the parties or otherwise feels that their impartiality might be called into question.
If this were the case it would be a little odd, because she had overseen the lawsuit since it landed in federal court last year. She had also rejected Facebook’s attempts to dismiss the case.
She ruled that plaintiffs had shown economic injury could occur through Facebook’s use of their names, photographs and likenesses.
Five Facebook members claim Facebook’s “Sponsored Stories” feature violated California law by publicising users’ “likes” of certain advertisers without paying them or giving them a way to opt out. Facebook is understood to have agreed to allow users more control over how their personal information is used.
Facebook will pay $20 million to settle the case, according to court documents filed last month.
But any settlement must be approved by a judge. Koh vacated and recused and redacted herself in all pending dates for motions in the case, and asked that it be re-assigned to another judge.